In a call to action for the International Day of Women in Science, UNESCO and UN Women emphasized the need to bridge the gender gap in science. The Secretary-General highlighted systemic barriers and prejudices that prevent women and girls from pursuing careers in science, including limited or no access to education, underrepresentation in publications, and lack of senior positions at major universities. He also pointed out that women receive less funding compared to men.
To address these issues, the Secretary-General urged action on several fronts. Firstly, he called for an end to gender stereotypes that discourage girls from pursuing scientific careers. He also emphasized the importance of promoting role models who can inspire young girls to follow their passions. Secondly, he advocated for programs that would help women advance their careers in science and create work environments that nurture their talents, particularly those from minority groups. Lastly, he encouraged governments and institutions to recognize that inclusion drives innovation and take steps towards equal representation for women and girls in science.
The theme of this year’s International Day chosen by UNESCO and UN Women is “Bridging the Gender Gap in Science”. UNESCO’s Call to Action provides recommendations aimed at addressing the root causes of gender-based inequalities in science. This is aligned with SDG Goal 5: Gender Equality, which aims to end all forms of discrimination and violence against women and girls, eliminate harmful practices such as early and forced marriage and female genital mutilation, and ensure universal access to sexual and reproductive health care. Globally, almost half of all married women currently lack the power to make decisions about their sexual and reproductive health and rights.